All posts tagged: black-and-white

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Portraits of adversity in California’s Central Valley

Stretching deep through the spine of California’s Central Valley is Route 99. Once the primary north-south highway on the West Coast of the US, it has now given way to the much larger Interstate 5. As a result, a string of towns in the 60-mile-wide, 450-mile-long route have been forgotten by the majority of travellers on their way to San Francisco or Los Angeles. Nestled deep in this dust-filled, insufferably hot region are the sites of Katy Grannan’s The Ninety Nine and The Nine. The title of the series of portraits, The Ninety Nine, references Route 99 and the small towns along its reach. The Nine is the title of a series of accompanying large-scale, black-and-white landscape photographs, as well as an upcoming film. This title refers to South 9th Street in the town of Modesto, which is considered to be one of the most dangerous roads in the region. It is also the place where many of her subjects reside.     The landscape of the Central Valley is empty, physically expansive and physiologically charged. The valley is …

2016-01-08T16:31:22+00:00

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Spot the ball: Robin Maddock’s uncompromising, ambiguous vision of California

From the title of his photographic blog, Ugly Moments Strung Together, you sense that Robin Maddock is prone to critical self-analysis and distrust of aesthetic purity. Despite having two well-received photobooks already published by Trolley (or maybe because of it), Maddock says that he felt disoriented and perplexed when it came to finding inspiration for a new project or approach to work towards. His third book, III, also published by Trolley and shot largely in the harshly-lit urban topography of Los Angeles and San Francisco, is the culmination of this period of introspection and points to a future direction of enquiry that seems at odds with his documentary roots. His first book, Our Kids Are Going To Hell (2009), resulted from his work following police on raids in Hackney. The second, God Forgotten Face (2011), shot in his home town of Plymouth, was already more introspective, even if it remained recognisable as a documentary project, capturing the city as a kind of microcosm of Little England. Or so Maddock thought when he started, thinking of it as a kind of …

2016-01-13T14:44:56+00:00

Bob Campbell

Rebirth of the Cool: discovering the art of Robert James Campbell

The story of Robert James Campbell is a complex one. Born to a prestigious New England family (his grandfather was the inventor John Jay Nash) he moved to New York City and set about photographing jazz virtuosos such as John Coltrane, The Modern Jazz Quartet, Philly Joe Jones and Wayne Shorter – alongside musical legends like Chuck Berry, Richie Havens & Miriam Makeba. Jessica Ferber’s collection covers some of Campbell’s work, shot at legendary clubs like Birdland, The Village Vanguard, and The Gaslight Café. The book also covers Campbell’s street photography, international work from his time spent in Germany, and tour imagery. It documents the short career of a photographer who “died alone and penniless” in Burlington, Vermont in 2002. In was in Burlington that Ferber first discovered Campbell. After graduating from The University of Vermont, she volunteered to survey some boxes that were left behind by Campbell “after he passed away at a local homeless shelter”.  Says Ferber: “At the time, I didn’t know who Campbell was, and I understood that little was known about the …

2016-01-04T18:18:47+00:00

How London’s new buildings show how the city is facing terminal decline

Cities are places of constant change. It’s the nature of them, and it’s what makes them attractive. But not all change is equal; change can be organic, but it can be pernicious and abnormal. London has always been a city in flux. But, for anyone living in London, the transformations of the past few years are impossible to ignore. Huge swathes of the city have been redeveloped, remarkable buildings demolished, long-standing communities displaced. This current period of activity is unique, for it is is undoing many of the things that make the city unique. As social housing becomes luxury flats, as their inhabitants are forced out to the suburbs, the inner zones of the city become ever more homogenous, expensive and dull. This issue is what underlies Metropole, a project that aims to visualise the changing skyline of London, to imagine how the city will come to look in the future and, most importantly, seeks to recreate the sensation of feeling lost in a city that was once familiar. It’s a project partly inspired by the city symphony movies of the 1920s, films …

2016-02-12T11:21:43+00:00

The school implements weekly workshops in refugee camps and cities across the West Bank as well as at its official premises in Birzeit © Rich Wiles

The Palestinian circus school intertwining political stories and grassroots social work

BJP

First published on worldphoto.org. British documentary photographer Rich Wiles has been based in Palestine for many years. His work explores notions of home, identity, resistance, and has been published and exhibited widely. Rich tells us more about his series Circus behind the Wall (which was shortlisted for the Sony World Photography Awards 2015) and his path into photography. With entries to the 2016 edition of the Sony World Photography Awards closing soon, now is the time to enter your work. For you, what is the purpose of photography? Photography is a medium that helps us to question the way we look at the world and what we ‘know’ or think about it. If photography can make us ‘think’ differently, then can it also encourage us to act differently? I believe that it can, and therefore the purpose of my photographic practice, unashamedly, is to be an agent for social change in whatever context that is being sought. You have lived in Palestine for many years.  What brought you to the country and was photography any influence on …

2015-12-04T11:23:28+00:00

Comings and Goings, Brick Lane, 1986

London Life: Colin O’Brien’s reflections on a changing city

Hackney-based Colin O’Brien has carved out of a reputation as one of the most important photographers documenting life in the capital. The steady buzz around his work continues to grow with the release of his latest book, London Life, published by Spitalfields Life Books, and his new exhibition at the new Leica Store City gallery based at The Royal Exchange, London. Now in his mid 70s, he is a delight to interview – witty, pithy and passionate. Over a coffee, O’Brien reflects upon a career in photography that started when he was eight, taking pictures of his friends playing together on the bomb sites of postwar London. Over decades O’Brien has built up a vast archive of images, so it is perhaps unsurprising that anyone viewing his work becomes acutely conscious of the changing face of life in the city he records.     These days Hackney itself seems to be a metaphor for constant urban renewal, something O’Brien is all too aware of. “When we first moved to Hackney [in the early 1980s], a …

2015-12-02T14:06:10+00:00

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Playing between the lines of fashion, photography and art

Benjamin Whitley only completed his BA in photography at Camberwell College of Art last year, and already he has already been featured in the Telegraph and Vogue.co.uk, shot the SS14 campaign for Mako, and shown work at the South London Gallery. Born into a family of image makers – his mother, grandfather and aunt have all been photographers at some point, and his other grandfather is a painter – he has a sophisticated approach that he applies to fashion, film and photography, and the juncture at which it meets art.           “Fashion is interesting due to its construction in terms of image,” he says. “It has a likeness to real time but inherently it’s completely hyperreal. There’s an element of performance that is really exciting; it allows for a collision of style and roleplay that is unique to the medium. I’m interested in how clothing can take on its wearer and vice versa, and how fashion imagery can create completely unrealistic and opulent scenarios. The fantasy of it all is really glamorous.” Attracted to “the way …

2015-11-18T16:05:14+00:00

Snows of Kilimanjaro, 1972

Peter Beard’s landmark work documenting man-made destruction done to Africa’s wildlife

“The deeper the white man went into Africa, the faster the life flowed out of it, off the plains and out of the bush…vanishing in acres of trophies and hides and carcasses” proclaimed renowned photographer and artist Peter Beard in his 1965 seminal publication The End Game, a tome highlighting the atrocities of man made destruction done to Africa’s wildlife in the National Parks of Kenya’s Tsavo lowlands and Uganda.     And in 2015, deeper the white man goes. July saw online outrage erupt over the merciless killing of Cecil the Lion in Zimbabwe, poached by US dentist Walter Palmer for a sum of $50,000. Meanwhile as the world mourned Cecil, five of Kenya’s endangered elephants were quietly slain in Tsavo, to the absent furor of almost no media attention. This devastating poaching incident echoes The End Game’s haunting images and text that fill its 292 pages, which chronicle the same ruthless fate these endangered elephants were subject to half a century ago as they are today.     The 50th anniversary edition of …

2015-11-18T13:22:01+00:00

Camopi, February 2015 © Christophe Gin for the Carmignac Foundation

Christophe Gin wins 6th edition of the Carmignac Foundation’s Photojournalism Award

Christophe Gin has been awarded the 6th edition of the Carmignac Foundation’s Photojournalism Award, winning a €50,000 grant for Colonie, his work ruminating on lawless areas in France. Created in 2009, the award has sponsored photojournalism in conflict zones and neglected regions; previous winners include Robin Hammond (featured in our latest Portrait issue) and recent Magnum Photos nominee Newsha Tavakolian. The award was mired in controversy last year, after Tavakolian contended that the foundation’s benefactor, French investment banker Edouard Carmignac began to interfere with with the presentation of her work to an “unacceptable” degree. The foundation disputed her remarks, claiming the postponing of her project was due to purported threats to the photographer’s safety, which it said Tavakolian reported. It would seem any acrimony has abated, however – Tavakolian’s work will be part of the Carmignac Foundation’s upcoming retrospective at Saatchi Gallery, London. It features 40 works produced since the award’s inception by all laureates – Kai Wiedenhöfer, Massimo Berruti, Robin Hammond, David Monteleone, Tavakolian and this year’s winner Christophe Gin. Colonie, Gin’s winning project delved into French Guiana, a region in …

2015-11-13T13:38:49+00:00

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Frantz Fanon’s psychology of race, in photographs

In 2015, the cross-pollination of races occurs freely and globally. Yet it is easy to overlook the complex process of identification that a mixed-race person must confront. For in each race’s DNA is a history, culture and psychology that are all too-often defined in isolation. In his most recent series, Frantz Fanon, which tracks the life of the iconic 20th century thinker, Bruno Boudjelal has continued his career tradition of using photography to untangle the rich web of his own mixed identity. Frantz Fanon is widely regarded as the definitive post-colonial theorist. Born in Martinique, he traveled to France to fight in the Second World War before settling in North Africa, working as a psychiatrist in a small town, Blida, 50 miles from the Algerian capital. It was here, in the years leading up to both its release and Fanon’s death in 1961, that he wrote his chilling account of the psychological effects of colonialism and decolonization on the native Algerian population, Les Damnés de la Terre – ‘The Wretched of the Earth.’   “For …

2015-11-05T19:31:02+00:00

BJP Staff